Thousands of horseracing fans throughout the region will make the fall pilgrimage this weekend to Keeneland racetrack in Lexington. Located in the heart of Kentucky Bluegrass country, Keeneland is a beautiful racetrack and the fall meet is always a festive affair. Racing fans, especially the ladies, like to dressup for the occasion.
Track officials have done a good job in filling Saturday’s 10-race card with full fields but the highlight for me will be the $500,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for 2-year-old thoroughbreds. The 1 1/16-mile Dixiana is a Breeder’s Cup automatic qualifier for the Juvenile Division and for many of the horses entered in the race this will be their first attempt at a route race and the all-weather racing surface.
The Tom Amoss-trained Backtalk, winner of the Bashford Manor (G3) and Sanford Stakes (G2), is the 4-1 morning favorite and heads a full field of 14 horses. In his last outing, the previously undefeted Backtalk finished fourth to D. Wayne Lukas’ Dublin in the 7-furlong Hopeful Stakes (G1). Backtalk starts from post two but in the Hopeful, he broke from post 12 and was further back in the earlier going than he had been in previous races.
Wayne Catalano’s Dixie Band ships in from Arlington Park and has been made the 5-1 second-choice co-favorite with Todd Pletcher’s Aikenite. Undefeated in three starts, Dixie Band comes into the Hopeful with a win in the Spectacular Bid Stakes and the Arlington-Washington Furturity (G3). After getting off to a slow start in his last outing, Aikenite finished a respectable third in the Hopeful beaten 3 ½ lengths by Dublin.
In his last outing, The Gregory Sacco-trained Piscitelli (15-1) finished third to Dixie Band in the Arlington-Washington Futurity.
Alexis Barba ships in from Del Mar Make Music For Me (6-1) who twice finished second to Lookin At Lucky in the Best Pal (G2) and Del Mar Futurity Stakes (G2).
Two horses who have already raced 1 1/16 miles is the Michael Maker-trained Stately Victor (8-1) and Roman Invasion (12-1) who is trained by Kelly Breen. Stately Victor has been working exceptionally well and he comes into the race with an easy 4 ½-length maiden win on the turf last out. Roman Invasion comes into the race with a 10 ¾-length maiden win last out on a wet-fast track Delaware. However, his time was a slow 1:46.44.
Make Music For Me